Movie theaters may be opening again, but not everyone’s ready to go back. So why not give the ones you love — or yourself — the holiday gift of movies? Or TV box sets, whatever. We’ve taken a look at some of the best gift ideas out there for the fan of superheroes, fantasy, and sci-fi on your list. (Sorry, but Spider-Man: No Way Home is still “only in theaters.”) All of which Amazon.com has running as of publication time. Please note that all deals are subject to change or sell out at any time based on supply and demand. Buy while you can, and please pay attention to shipping times and methods to ensure they arrive on time.
The year’s best new Marvel hero anchored a fantastic mix of wuxia, epic fantasy, globe-trotting spy caper, and comedy. Enjoy the adventure all over again as Simu Liu embraces his destiny as Shang-Chi. Also, and we’re free to say this now, it really clears up a whole lot of loose ends involving the Mandarin in the MCU. Including the return of Sir Ben Kingsley, doing an excellent job of playing a terrible actor, once more.
Paramount may have made things more difficult for themselves by announcing that the 4K of Robert Wise’s director’s edition of The Motion Picture will come out later, and separately. But they also know Star Trek fans will spend big. And even if it’s just for the three subsequent movies, $57.99 isn’t a bad deal. The mini-trilogy of Spock’s death, rebirth, and final return form the heart of original Trek onscreen. So much so that the series floundered hard in the next film, only to regain its balance for part VI. You’ll have a whale of a time.
Leaning into the absurdity Tom Hardy brought to his dual role as both tormented journalist Eddie Brock and bullying alien goo Venom, Andy Serkis’ sequel offers plenty more fodder for VenEddie fanfics. The two bicker, break up, and even eat at least one at brain together to reconcile. Meanwhile, even Woody Harrelson is hard-pushed to out-ham Hardy as his accidental spawn Carnage. Don’t look at it as comics-based; just remember it’s the Multiverse. Role with the laughs and the very deliberate LGBT subtext, and go for the 4K to better observe every different shade of black in those CG symbiotes.
Now that Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) has arrived in the MCU’s present day, not looking a day older than she did in the ’90s, catch up on her backstory. Why is she so attached to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow? What is the secret of the Red Room? And what exactly was the deal with Widow’s green vest in Avengers: Infinity War? All these questions and more get answered, in Marvel’s darkly amusing out-of-order remix of Moonraker with female protagonists.
In 1976, producer Dino De Laurentiis famously opined that, “When my monkey die, everybody cry.” In 2021, we might note that when ape and lizard fight, everything’s all right. Godzilla and Kong’s long-awaited kaiju kick-assery doesn’t end with either dying, but there is a winner. And ultimately a common foe. And nobody has to cry. Except for joy, watching the giants smash cities and each other the way visual-effects technology finally allows them to.
Impress the graphic novel fan in your life with this barely released film written by and costarring Alan Moore, in his official feature film debut. Unhappy with the scripts based on his own books, he finally wrote one for himself. And it’s as dense and entertaining as any reader of his might expect, all while mocking his own self-created image as some sort of pagan anarchist shaman. Think Twin Peaks, but much more English, and shorter.
The Dark Knight Trilogy
A Batman who exists in a world of no other superheroes seems like a quaint proposition these days. And yet for a while, fans regarded Christopher Nolan’s take as the definitive version. A three-part Batman tale with a beginning, middle and end, this film trilogy follows Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne from his early martial arts training to his run-in with the Joker and final battle against Bane. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for that middle one.
Eighteen animated Batman movies in one affordable set. Includes the theatrical Mask of the Phantasm, the Adam West-starring Return of the Caped Crusaders, and adaptations of The Killing Joke, Gotham by Gaslight, and The Dark Knight Returns. Whichever Batman is “yours,” tonally speaking, he’s probably represented here at least once.
The Snyderverse never got to five, but just because it ends with a hint of future darkness doesn’t mean the story is incomplete. An arc of the rise, fall, and redemption of Superman and Batman, it’s still an epic unto itself. Six lenticular cards, three art cards, and one print of the Anti-Life equation accompany the trilogy in 4K, which includes the remastered Batman v Superman ultimate edition with corrected colors and shifting Imax aspect ratio. Celebrate the year that was the year of the Snyder Cut. Now, WB, give us the Justice Is Grey edition too.
The Suicide Squad 4K UHD
Considered by non-Zack Snyder fans to be perhaps the best DC Extended Universe movie. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad includes director’s commentary and multiple extras, including a gag reel and many making-of featurettes. In this semi-sequel/reboot focusing on Amanda Waller and her assembly of super-powered no-hopers, DC D-listers like Polka-Dot Man gain a new lease on life. Though for some, that life will end quite violently. Not for the little kids on your list who only know John Cena from wrestling.